LONDON: Scandal-ridden Boris Johnson has resigned as leader of the ruling Tory party after he dramatically lost the support of his ministers and most Conservative lawmakers, but said he would stay on as PM until his successor was chosen. Here are some reactions:

Andrei Kelin, Russian ambassador to Britain

Mr Kelin said that Boris Johnson’s fall was a just reward for a “belligerent” anti-Russian policy of support for Ukraine while ignoring the economic needs of the British people.

“He concentrated too much on the geopolitical situation, on Ukraine,” Kelin said in an interview in London.

“He left behind very much the country, people, state of the economy, and this is what has brought this outcome,” Kelin said in English. “Of course, we would prefer someone who is not so antagonistic or belligerent.”

Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukrainian president

Mr Zelensky telephoned Boris Johnson to express his “sadness” over the British leader’s resignation as Conservative leader and impending departure as prime minister, Kyiv said.

“We all welcome this news with sadness. Not only me, but also all of Ukrainian society which sympathises with you a lot,” the presidency quoted Zelensky as saying, reiterating how grateful Ukrainians were for the British prime minister’s support since the Russian invasion.

“We don’t doubt that Great Britain’s support will continue, but your personal leadership and your charisma made it special,” said Zelensky.

Keir Starmer, leader of opposition Labour Party

“It is good news for the country that Boris Johnson has resigned as Prime Minister.

“But it should have happened long ago. He was always unfit for office. He has been responsible for lies, scandal and fraud on an industrial scale.”

John Major, former conservative prime minister

“The proposal for the prime minister to remain in office — for up to three months — having lost the support of his cabinet, his government and his parliamentary party is unwise, and may be unsustainable.”

“For the overall wellbeing of the country, Mr Johnson should not remain in Downing Street — when he is unable to command the confidence of the House of Commons — for any longer than necessary to effect the smooth transition of government.”

Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish first minister

“There will be a widespread sense of relief that the chaos of the last few days (indeed months) will come to an end, though notion of Boris Johnson staying on as PM until autumn seems far from ideal, and surely not sustainable?”

Michelle O’neill, leader of Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland

“It has been an utter absurdity that the people here have been subjected to Boris Johnson for any length of time. He is a figure of absolute disrepute. Anyone who tries to sabotage our peace agreements, a quarter century of progress and our shared future is truly no friend of ours.”

Published in Dawn, July 8th, 2022

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